A new study by the Knight Foundation and Gallup Poll reveals that Americans’ trust in the media is at an all-time low. The Attorney General of the United States, William Barr, agrees, stating in an interview with Mark Levin that the media is “projecting a narrative” to fit its own agenda.
The summer of 2020 has been dominated by news of the coronavirus pandemic and then the protests, rioting and looting that broke out in response to the death of George Floyd. For the 20,000 Americans who participated in the polling conducted by Gallup and Knight, the desire for news remains high, but the trust of that news has plummeted to an all-time low.
According to the survey, there is a “deepening pessimism and further partisan entrenchment about how the news media delivers on its democratic mandate for factual, trustworthy information…As such, Americans have not only lost confidence in the ideal of an objective media, they believe news organizations actively support the partisan divide.”
Some of the survey’s major findings included that 73% of Americans believe that media bias is a major problem, 8 out of 10 think that “inaccuracies in reporting are intentional,” only one in five young Americans believe the media and half of Americans believe that media is to blame for the political divisions.
The latest coverage over the protests is a stark example of this growing problem, which Attorney General William Barr reflected on in a recent interview with Mark Levin.
“They are projecting a narrative,” Attorney General Barr said. “When the word ‘narrative’ came into currency, I knew we were in trouble because the word narrative suggests that there’s no objective truth. There’s no real story of what happened it’s just everyone has their own narrative. And you get to where the press can justify presenting a story that doesn’t really correspond to objective truth but ‘it’s our narrative, we have a narrative you have a narrative.’”
“You don’t see (the violence) on any of the national news,” Barr said. “You don’t see it on the networks, you don’t see it on the other cable stations. And yet you hear about these peaceful demonstrations. So, it’s—it’s a lie. The American people are being told a lie by the media.”
Another example of this is the coverage over the idea of defunding the police. Portrayed in a rather positive light by some in the mainstream media and academia, it doesn’t seem like the average American feels the same.
A recent CNN cited doctoral candidate Philip McHarris as saying that “many black Americans and other people of color don’t feel protected by the police.”
But a recent Gallup poll entitled “Black Americans Want Police to Retain Local Presence,” shares a different perspective. According to the survey, 20% of black Americans stated that they wanted police to spend more time in their area and 61% wanted the same amount of time. Only 19% wanted police to spend less time. The result is similar to the average, where 67% of Americans want police to spend the same amount of time and 19% want the police to spend more time.
If defunding the police is as popular as some in the media and academia want people to believe, why do the majority of Americans seemingly want policing to remain as it is?
In an op-ed for the Boston Herald, Jonah Goldberg wrote, “My point isn’t that all is great with policing in America. But ‘defund the police’ or ‘abolish the police’ (slogans that got wide traction in the elite media for much of the summer, buoyed by polished academics and activists with ready-made talking points) was always an absurd idea, politically and practically — politically because even the most victimized populations don’t want to get rid of the police, and practically because a police-free modern society is simply unworkable. (Just ask the former denizens of that ‘autonomous zone’ in Seattle.)”
No one is calling for the removal of the media, as the survey reports that 84% of Americans still believe that the “media is vital for democracy.” But there must be a return to objective truth in media. Journalists aren’t there to spread a particular narrative, but to report the truth as it is, not what they want it to be.
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